IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) – Through the summer time of 2020, Iowa Metropolis Police confronted loud calls for change from their neighborhood.
In December, Metropolis Supervisor Geoff Fruin gave the Preliminary Plan to Restructure the Police Department. The 34 suggestions centered on funding social companies and diverting calls away from police.
A giant a part of this plan was the addition of a psychological well being liaison to co-respond with officers. That place has now been crammed, and the work is about to start.
Joachim Seelos involves Iowa Metropolis after six years of disaster intervention and youngster welfare work in Kansas Metropolis. He was employed by CommUnity Disaster Companies in July and is now coaching with ICPD.
“I feel we have all been by way of some type of disaster and so it helps me to narrate to what different individuals are going by way of of their lives,” Seelos mentioned.
Seelos has an workplace at ICPD headquarters and can reply with police to welfare checks, doable suicides and extra. The division hopes to additionally ship him out on calls on his personal.
“We have been attempting to take a look at completely different co-responder fashions for a number of years now,” Sgt. Andrew McKnight mentioned, the top of planning and analysis for ICPD. “Now we have to determine the very best methods to make the most of his skills, however he is definitely an asset for us.”
Some neighborhood members say the brand new place is a step in the direction of higher relations with police, however there may be nonetheless an extended approach to go.
“Psychological well being is such a sensitive and laborious topic proper now, particularly through the pandemic,” Tony Sivanthapanith mentioned, a former psychological well being employee and a 15-year resident of Iowa Metropolis. “This can be a step, however I consider there are numerous extra steps wanted.”